Ro­tary to con­duct free cleft lip surgery for chil­dren - Omo­to­sho

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

Dr. Mike Omo­to­sho is the gover­nor, Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional, Dis­trict 9125, cov­er­ing 23 states of the coun­try, and the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT). In this in­ter­view, he spoke on the club’s ef­fort in erad­i­cat­ing po­lio world­wide and other hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try.

How do Ro­tar­i­ans work with gov­ern­ment on com­mu­nity projects? Ro­tary does not rep­re­sent gov­ern­ment. What we do is to aug­ment what­ever it is that gov­ern­ment is do­ing. As Ro­tar­i­ans we sup­port what­ever ac­tiv­i­ties gov­ern­ment does that is needed in the com­mu­ni­ties.

We look out for those gap where gov­ern­ment is un­able to touch, we go there and then be­gin to im­ple­ment the projects just to give hope to the hope­less, home to the home­less and suc­cor to the to the less priv­i­leged.

The ro­tary clubs we have in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties come up with projects for those com­mu­ni­ties. We do a need as­sess­ment first, we then sit with the com­mu­nity and come up with projects that ben­e­fit them, and plan a sus­tain­abil­ity method to en­sure that when we leave, they will able to keep the project run­ning, and we go back to check them if they are still okay and man­aged well.

We have plans to sink three bore holes in each of the 16 lo­cal gov­ern­ments area of Kwara State in the first phase, be­cause na­tion­ally across our dis­tricts, we are plan­ning about two hun­dred and fifty bore­holes (250).

So if we are able to bring at least 50 to Kwara State, we will know that we have done some­thing and there are sev­eral other projects that are still in the pipe­line.

We are plan­ning with the state gov­ern­ment to carry out free cleft lip surgery to Ilorin In Fe­bru­ary. A group of Amer­i­can vol­un­teers, about seven of them would be com­ing in to per­form the surgery.

They have al­ready come for a pre­lim­i­nary anal­y­sis and chil­dren with cleft lips will be brought to Ilorin from all over the coun­try and we will have a free surgery for them so that we can put back smile back on their faces be­cause th­ese are chil­dren who are or­di­nar­ily can­not mix well be­cause of stigma­ti­za­tion and by the time we do this for them, they will mix freely with the peo­ple in the so­ci­ety and live a nor­mal life again.

When will Nige­ria be po­lio free be­cause you men­tioned ear­lier that Nige­ria was just re­moved from the po­lio en­demic na­tion’s list?

Our flag­ship pro­gramme is po­lio erad­i­ca­tion, and we are happy for suc­cess­fully in­ter­rupt­ing po­lio trans­mis­sion be­cause we have gone one full year with­out any case of po­lio in Nige­ria.

How­ever, we have just been re­moved from the list of po­lio en­demic na­tions, we are not po­lio free yet as a na­tion un­til July 2017 when we have gone three full years with­out any case of po­lio, that is when they will say Nige­ria is fi­nally po­lio free.

What other ar­eas are you plan­ning to em­bark on since po­lio erad­i­ca­tion is al­most over?

We have about 35 thou­sand clubs present in 200 coun­tries and ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gions , and we have three clubs in Kwara State but hop­ing to go to ten very soon.

Each ro­tary club is en­cour­aged to fo­cus on six ar­eas, and they are: dis­ease preven­tion and erad­i­ca­tion, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, ma­ter­nal and child health, ed­u­ca­tion and lit­er­acy, poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment, peace and con­flict res­o­lu­tions.

When we get rid of po­lio com­pletely in the world that is when ro­tary can now come up with what next to use as our flag­ship project again. It is a bit pre­ma­ture to start talk­ing about the next flag­ship project when we have not com­pletely erad­i­cated po­lio in the world.

What are ro­tary achieve­ments in Kwara State?

We have com­mis­sioned seven projects to­day which in­cludes bore­holes in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions of the state. We have do­nated play­ground set to an or­phan­age home too where those chil­dren can play around. We also do­nated to a sec­ondary school where we also in­au­gu­rated ro­tary club to see and feel what Ro­tar­i­ans en­joy.

What chal­lenges do you en­counter as Ro­tar­i­ans? Well, a lot of peo­ple still do not un­der­stand the work of ro­tary.Our peo­ple are not used to giv­ing back to the so­ci­ety and se­condly, peo­ple do not un­der­stand that it is an in­her­ent need for ev­ery hu­man be­ing to be happy when you give back.

They do not un­der­stand the idea of giv­ing back but only gives when it is con­ve­nient for them. That is not the idea. The idea is to sac­ri­fice from the lit­tle you al­ready have. No amount of money is too small or too much.

Dr. Mike Omo­to­sho

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